When we saw some terrific cosplays of Ike and Lucina we discovered not one great cosplayer, but two! Bonus! The fascination began some 10 years ago, but was put on hold for quite a number of years. Thankfully that interest was rekindled and Brian and Angie are back with a vengeance!
Could you tell us a little about yourself?
Buraneji is actually a Japanization of our names, Brian and Angie (Brangie). Brian is a mechanical engineer who designs steel tanks for switchgear, and Angie is a software engineer at an SF late-stage start up. When we’re not working on our costumes, we’re usually camping, reading, traveling, working out, or drinking boba!
What or who inspired you to Cosplay?
Angie actually went to AX for the first time in 2006 (cosplaying as Nana Osaki), and didn’t go back for the next 9 years despite absolutely loving it (unfortunately she didn’t have any friends who were willing to cosplay with her until she met Brian in 2012). Then, in 2015, a bunch of our mutual friends wanted to do a group Smash cosplay together, and Angie jumped on the chance to go back to AX after so many years. Brian loves any excuse for getting dressed up, so naturally he agreed! We’ve been spending all of our free time making costumes ever since!
Are there specific types of character that you particularly gravitate towards and why?
The more complicated the costume the better! Just kidding :p although sometimes it seems that way. First and foremost we try to pick characters that we resonate with; for example, Brian LOVES Kamina from TTGL, and we’re both giant Star Wars nerds, so it was only natural for us to do a mashup between the two! We do also like to challenge ourselves, so we’re hoping to tackle some heavily armored cosplays with intricate weapons next.
What for you have been the most challenging characters that you’ve cosplayed as, and which have been the most enjoyable?
Lucina and Ike were definitely the most challenging of the ones we’ve done so far, because they were the first cosplays we made, and they were SO detailed! We had to learn everything from scratch, from how to carve swords out of foam board, to how to drape a dress. The most enjoyable cosplays has definitely been Kamina/Yoko – they have so much attitude, so it’s incredibly fun to run around the con and really get into character. People really love Kamina haha
Could you take us through a little on how you made your outfits?
It starts with a TON of research! Finding or taking screenshots of our characters from every imaginable angle, and looking up tutorials (if it’s a cosplay that someone else might have done) or diagramming patterns & materials (if it’s a costume we’re designing ourselves). We’ve been pretty lucky with finding existing patterns to work off of, and getting pretty decent results when we have to make it up 🙂
Our Ike/Lucina cosplays were completely eyeballed. Angie made Lucina’s dress by tracing shirts onto fabric, and making the pattern up (based on a tutorial she found online) and repeatedly draping and pinning the dress on her body until it fit. Brian’s Ike vest was also made by copying the base pattern from an existing piece of clothing that resembled a vest, and then improvising. Our swords were 3-4 pieces of foam board with a dowel sandwiched in between for structure, and then hand sanded down to a sword-ish shape. The armor was 1/2″ thick EVA foam, which was heat formed, sealed with Plastidip, spray painted, and detailed with craft foam.
Angie’s rifle for her Yoko cosplay was based off a tutorial posted by Blind Squirrel Props but with the materials completely fudged, since we don’t really own any tools other than a small power drill. It’s PVC, foam board, craft foam, cardboard, and a lot of glue.
Which Conventions have been the most enjoyable for you to attend and why?
Fanime was an absolute blast! We made so many new friends, and everyone we’ve met is just so passionate and so enjoyable to be around. It’s also super cool that Clockwork Alchemy (the steampunk convention) happens at the same time, and you can access that with your Fanime ticket! We’re both a bit into steampunk as well, so it’s nice to get a 2 for 1 😉
Have there been any memorable reactions to your costumes, and if so, what were they?
At Fanime, there were a few people who were SO excited to see our Yoko/Kamina outfits, and they had the core drill necklace and everything! It was so cool to see that people were still so excited about a fandom that’s almost 10 years old at this point! People were screaming lines at us from across the room, and running over to get pictures of us. It was all very exciting 😀
A question about photographers. Obviously cosplayers are a dream come true for photographers, great outfits and poses, does it ever get a bit tiring having to pose endlessly for them, and how do you prefer to be approached by a photographer?
We honestly don’t really get tired of it! Maybe it’s because the whole posing for pictures thing is so new to us, but it’s really exciting to have so many people come up to us and ask for pictures! We always prefer for people to ask us instead of silently sniping a candid picture as they’re walking by. Also, if we look like we’re not ready to be photographed, please wait to ask us for pictures! I think every cosplayer’s pet peeve is when they’re eating/sitting/adjusting their costume, and someone walks by and takes a picture 😦 Once someone even tried to get Angie’s attention when she was adjusting costume tape on her butt! Finally, if you want to put your arms around us or pose a specific way, just ask!
What impact has cosplaying had on your life?
First and foremost, it has sucked up all our free time :p but other than that, it’s just so amazing all the different types of skills you have to learn to be a cosplayer that fabricates your own costume, armor, and weapons! On a personal level, we’ve had to become so much more resourceful and creative. But also, we’ve met so many wonderful people at cons, who have continued to support us and inspire us! It’s mind-blowing how accepting and friendly this community is, and it really inspires us to keep working hard at our craft and to participate in the community as much as possible!
Do you have any advice for anybody thinking of cosplaying?
Just try it! Cosplaying seems really daunting because there are so many people out there who are absolutely brilliant at it… We have a hard time with that too; it’s so easy to look at someone else’s expertly crafted costume and feel intimidated. But it’s a learning process, and we’re all just taking it one step at a time! Cosplaying is so much fun, and everyone is super accepting and helpful. We’ve all been there as the newbie cosplayer that has a million questions (we’re still there, honestly), and if you have questions or need help, just ask 🙂